The Green Teens program is one of the nation’s few paid urban forestry vocational skills training programs. It provides opportunity and mentorship to youth in San Francisco, ages 14-19, who are interested in a dynamic, first-time work experience and/or pursuing careers in the environmental field.
Participants gain practical experience in tree care, tree planting, landscaping, and professional development. A typical work day might include pruning trees at a school, planting trees at a community greening event, or hiking on a local trail. They learn more about the environment with field trips to places such as the San Francisco Botanical Garden, California Academy of Sciences, Recology, and the San Francisco Public Utility Commission’s wastewater treatment plant.
The Green Teens are also trained in long-term employability and life skills. Participants attend workshops on resume and cover letter writing, interviewing, financial literacy, and nutrition. Throughout the program, the youth meet professionals in the field, such as certified arborists and landscapers.
Each year, we hold three sessions of the Green Teens program. The Fall session meets every Saturday, from mid-September to mid-December. The Spring session also meets every Saturday, mid-February to mid-April. The Summer session — our most intensive — meets Wednesday-Saturday, from mid-June to mid-August.
Participants may join for up to four sessions, during which they can earn performance-based promotions. Youth who have successfully completed two sessions of Green Teens may apply to become a Green Teen Leader, which is an advanced team of participants who are motivated to further their skills and become experienced youth mentors to the cohort. Green Teen Leaders earn a higher rate of pay and have more responsibilities, including leading and managing their own working groups.
Program partners that provide training include San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Wells Fargo, Recology, Outward Bound, and Literacy for Environmental Justice. Other program partners include Jewish Vocational Services, Hunters Point Family, Instituto Familiar de la Raza, Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco, and high schools throughout the city.
More than 900 youth have benefited from the program since it started as the Youth Tree Care program in 1995, and we look forward to continuing to dedicate our time and skills to serving San Francisco’s youth for years to come. See photos of our Green Teens in action.
If you or a youth you know are interested in participating, please contact Sonny at 415-601-8442 or firstname.lastname@example.org.